Tag Archives: Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe – are MDC’s days numbered

African Arguments

Zimbabwe: are the MDC’s days numbered? – By Simukai Tinhu

Zanzibar-Prime-Minister-Morgan-Tsvangirai

The party congress of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s, an electoral exercise  whose main purpose was to reinvigorate the party in preparation for the 2018 elections, has come and gone. Much of what happened was conveyed by the headlines in local newspapers; ‘Tsvangirai emerges weaker from the Congress,’ ‘Without Unity, MDC is fighting a hopeless cause’, and  ‘Did the MDC-T Congress enhance 2018 electoral chances?’. Often, a sad, dithering photo of Morgan Tsvangirai, the party leader, accompanied such headlines, completing the media’s suggestion that the opposition group is a cause that continues to retreat.

As the MDC’s congenital failure, Tsvangirai’s retention as leader has not gone down well with some sections of the party’s traditional support. Indeed, following an emphatic thumping by ZANU-PF in the July 2013 elections, many thought that the leadership problem had become so serious that the opposition group needed a replacement if the party was to successfully rejuvenate itself. The most touted party apparatchik to succeed Tsvangirai was the youthful and charismatic Nelson Chamisa, who until the congress at the end of October, was the MDC’s Organising Secretary.

A scion of the student movement that shook Zimbabwe’s political establishment in the late 1990s, party enthusiasts expected him, with Tsvangirai’s blessing, to ascend to the position of Secretary General in preparation to take over after 2018. However,  Tsvangirai reportedly strong-armed the internal electoral process in order to have him defeated. Instead, former Party Spokesman Douglas Mwonzora (who is considered to be less able) took over as the new Secretary General, shattering the fragile sense of democracy within the party.

The move to undermine Chamisa’s electoral chances was not only motivated by contempt for the very notion of anyone leading the party, but also a desire to punish the youthful politician. In the run-up to the congress, Mwonzora had led a group of Tsvangirai’s allies who were advocating for whittling down the powers of the Secretary General, and transferring them to the leader of the party, a demand that Chamisa ferociously opposed. Thus, Mwonzora an ardent ally of Tsvangirai, who is associated with initiating and sustaining a mini-cult of Tsvangirai, was rewarded for his acquiescence to Tsvangirai’s demands, and Chamisa was punished for his opposition to the leader’s power grab.

The preponderance of loyalty over merit has seen the promotion, in all party structures, of those who campaigned for Tsvangirai, and the decimation of those with talent from the leadership. With no official positions within party structures, voices of those such as Chamisa are now easy to silence or push down below the surface where they cannot disturb the ‘forward march’ of the MDC. Inadvertently, this behaviour can make the party appear mediocre, making it even more difficult to attract the serious talent that it so desperately needs.

But despite this rapid declension of the opposition outfit, some of the party faithful have been quick to suspend their disappointment. They argue that the party has the capacity to bounce back. However, what hasn’t registered with these optimists is that the grander party of yesteryear is gone.  Indeed, gone are the days of party stalwarts such as the late Learnmore Jongwe, the irreplaceable Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti who left after having concluded that their future lies outside the anguish and failure of MDC politics. Those who have chosen to stay such as Elias Mudzuri, Job Sikhala and Chamisa, have been marginalised, and the party will miss their organisational talents.

This dearth of talent has not only been confined to the party’s political leadership but intellectuals as well. Indeed, the MDC is a party that has never been spoiled with an intellectual community endowed with enough talent to help create a good story. Unable to recruit local talent, until recently the opposition group has had to rely on foreign intellectuals to do the inventing. Indeed, through an incisive critique of ZANU-PF, the story of the MDC was powerfully articulated amongst many, including such prominent academics as ex-Oxford University Professor, R.W Johnston, Steven Chan of SOAS and Professor Robert Rortberg. But, with the erosion of interest in Zimbabwean politics, these academics have refocused their attention elsewhere, and the incapable MDC intellectuals have struggled to sustain the narrative that this foreign group had begun.

Hard pressed for intellectual capacity, the party has not only struggled to articulate its own story, but also to devise an effective political program. Indeed, the party’s sparse academic community has struggled to understand the importance of devising a strategy that can be effective within the context of Zimbabwean politics. For example, practically, the MDC has no ideology; has a modest interest in nationalism, and shuns independence politics. In the politics of Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, ideology, nationalism and politics of independence matter.

Ideology provides pillars around which campaign rhetoric is built. Nationalism and an association with independence politics are not only an inescapable basic moral foundation of post-independence politics, but help the opposition political party establish an ‘authentic’ foothold on national politics. The fate of ‘liberal parties’, especially in countries governed by liberation movements across Africa, offers a useful cautionary tale. ‘Liberal parties’ have never been able to establish a lasting foothold on national political scenes, let alone win power in the post-independence era.

There have been some half hearted intellectual claims within some quarters of the party that because of its links with the former student and labour union leaders, the MDC represents the working class. However, the party’s rather poorly articulated economic arguments have seen the opposition party being linked with neo-liberal economics, leaving in the cold those who get excited at the leadership’s rhetoric on representing the working classes. This contradiction has not struck a chord with the funding community, who for long have struggled to understand where the party stands. Also, their political adversaries have used this identity crisis to plant doubts in the MDC’s commitment to a serious economic programme.

Without a strategy and a convincing political programme, what is it then that has helped the MDC to sustain such a long life span as opposed to other opposition parties that have come and gone in Zimbabwe? Apart from the peculiar economic circumstances that have seen Zimbabwe struggle for a prolonged period, with economic hardship acting as an effective recruitment tool for the opposition, the MDC has benefited immensely from the West’s political patronage. Through a local pro-democracy movement, and directly, the West has not only funded the MDC but also ensured that the party received a positive depiction in the international media. Hardly a master piece of strategy by the opposition, this alliance exposed the party to attacks as a neo-colonialist project, and all kinds of caricature by ZANU-PF.

In an attempt to see Mugabe defenestrated as president, Western media went into an overdrive to project an over romanticised story of a hero fighting an ultimate villain, the Hitler of Africa. Indeed, on more than one occasion, comparisons were made with Mandela’s fight against apartheid. But unlike that of Mandela, Tsvangirai’s image had very shaky foundations. Reports of violence against his opponents, autocratic behaviour and personal shenanigans, coupled with his inability to dislodge Mugabe, compelled the Western media to change its course.

Indeed, towards the July 2013 elections the image of an anti-Mugabe hero was no longer sustainable. Instead, a welter of images that had come to constitute Tsvangirai were quickly replaced by those of a leader who has an affinity for opulence, who is autocratic and whose incompetence has turned the MDC from an asset that could unseat ZANU-PF, to a burden and an embarrassment that was increasingly becoming costly to defend. Also, the new national leadership that took over in Europe at the end of the last decade, appeared to have little fascination with the name Tsvangirai or illusions about his ability to dislodge Mugabe’s party.

Having struggled to absorb this fundamental reality, the MDC leadership reacted angrily, dismissing the West’s support as unnecessary and not needed, utterances that suggest a simplistic view of the larger political space in which the opposition exists. It is not unreasonable to say that the MDC enterprise would not have been born, let alone sustained had it not been for the West’s patronage.

Will the opposition which started with much promise be able to stand after another assault in 2018? Many doubt it. Those who predicted that one day the MDC will take the route of  Zimbabwe’s other opposition parties might not have cast their net too wide open after all. As an opposition, Tsvangirai’s party is close to death; its increasingly disengaged supporters have sunk into despair; its commentating glitterati reduced to spectators of political developments in the ruling party. Internationally isolated, the media coverage and financial opportunities that it once enjoyed have since evaporated. But the person who bears the ultimate responsibility for the death of the party, is its leader, and those around him who have been unable or unwilling to register what is in front of their eyes; that Tsvangirai has failed.

Simukai Tinhu is a political analyst. @STinhu

Zimbabwe – internal ZANU-PF wrangles stall development

IPS

Internal Ruling Party Wrangles Stall Development in Zimbabwe

Supporters (wearing red) of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai after witnessing their party losing to President Robert Mugabe in last year's elections. They now face another disappointment as the fight to succeed Mugabe turns attention away from development. Credit : Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

Supporters (wearing red) of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai after witnessing their party losing to President Robert Mugabe in last year’s elections. They now face another disappointment as the fight to succeed Mugabe turns attention away from development. Credit : Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

HARARE, Nov 26 2014 (IPS) - With the ruling Zimbabwe Africa National Union Patriotic Front party in Zimbabwe seized with internal conflicts, attention to key development areas here have shifted despite the imminent end of December 2015 deadline for global attainment of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The eight MDGs targeted to be achieved by 31 December 2015 form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and the world’s leading development institutions.

“Every development area is at a standstill here as ZANU-PF politicians are scrambling to succeed the aged Mugabe here and they have apparently forgotten about all the MDGs that the country also needs to attain before the 2015 deadline” – Agrippa Chiwawa, an independent development expert

But, caught up in the succession fight among ruling party politicians as the country’s 90-year old President Robert Mugabe – who has ruled this Southern African nation for the last 34 years – reportedly  battles ill health ahead of the party’s elective congress in December, development experts say the Zimbabwean government has apparently shifted attention from development to party politics.

“Every development area is at a standstill here as Zanu-PF politicians are scrambling to succeed the aged Mugabe here and they have apparently forgotten about all the MDGs that the country also needs to attain before the 2015 deadline,” independent development expert Agrippa Chiwawa told IPS.

The battle to succeed Mugabe pits Justice Minister Emerson Mnangagwa and the country’s Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who is currently receiving a battering from the former’s faction which has won sympathy from the country’s first family, with First Lady Grace Mugabe venomously calling for the immediate resignation of Mujuru before the ZANU-PF congress.

Chiwawa told IPS that despite the government having contained recent strikes by medical doctors here through appeasing them by reviewing their salaries, the public health sector is in a state of decay amid acute shortages of treatment drugs.

Elmond Bandauko, an independent political analyst, agrees with Chiwawa. “Internal fights within the ZANU-PF party are stumbling blocks to national, social and economic prosperity; the ZANU-PF government is concentrating on its party succession battles as the economy is on its knees and there is no projected solution to the economic woes the country faces at the moment,” he told IPS.

Fighting over who will succeed 90-year-old Robert Mugabe at the head of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has relegated agriculture, like other development issues, to the side-lines if not outright neglect. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

“Policy makers from the ZANU-PF government, who are supposed to be holding debates and parliamentary sessions and special meetings on how to move the country forward, are wasting time on political tiffs that do not save the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans,” Bandauko added.

Even the country’s education system has not been spared by the ruling party political milieu, according to educationists here.

“Nobody is talking about revamping the education system here as government officials responsible are busy consolidating their powers in the ruling party while national examinations are fast losing credibility amid leakages of exam papers before they are written, subsequently tarnishing the image of our country’s quality of education,” a top government official in the Ministry of Education told IPS on the condition of anonymity, fearing victimisation.

Even the country’s ordinary subsistence farmers, like Edson Ngulube from Masvingo Province in Mwenezi district, are feeling the pinch of the failure of politicians. “We can’t beat hunger and poverty without support from government with farming inputs,” Ngulube told IPS.

Yet for many Zimbabweans like Ngulube, reaching the MDGs offers the means to a better life – a life with access to adequate food and income.

Burdened with over half of its population starving, based on one of the U.N. MDGs, Zimbabwe nevertheless committed itself to eradicating hunger by 2015. But, with the Zanu-PF government deeply engrossed in tense power wrangles to succeed Mugabe, Zimbabwe may be way off the mark for reaching this target.

In addition, in September, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa, David Phiri went on record as saying that Zimbabwe could fail to meet the target to eradicating hunger by 2015 owing to conflict and natural disasters.

Zimbabwe’s 2012 National Census showed that more than two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people live in rural areas and, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), this year about 25 percent of them need food aid or they will starve, and between now and 2015, 2.2 million Zimbabweans will need food support.

Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Minister Joseph Made is, however, confident the country is set to end hunger before the 2015 deadline. “We have land and we have hardworking people utilising land and for us there is no reason to doubt that by 2015 we would have eradicated hunger,” Made told IPS.

Claris Madhuku, director for the Platform for Youth Development (PYD), a democracy lobby group in Zimbabwe, perceive things rather differently.

“What actuates Zimbabwe’s failure to attaining MDGs is the on-going governance crisis, a result of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s internal wars to succeed the party’s nonagenarian President, which have not made development any easier,” Madhuku told IPS.

According to the PYD leader, in order for Zimbabwe to experience magnificent development, “the ruling party has to try and get its politics right.”

But with Zimbabwean President Mugabe apparently clinging to the helm of the country’s ruling party with renewed tenacity, it remains to be seen whether or not real development will ever touch the country’s soils.

 

Zimbabwe – Tsvangirai now expels Biti from MDC

BBC
Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai ‘expels’ Tendai Biti from MDC

Morgan Tsvangirai has led the MDC since its launch in 1999

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his rival Tendai Biti has been expelled from their MDC party, along with eight other members.

Mr Biti was an “opportunist” who was being manipulated by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, he said.

On Saturday, a faction led by Mr Biti said Mr Tsvangirai had been suspended from the MDC because of a “remarkable failure of leadership”.

The divisions in the MDC follow its defeat in the 2013 elections.

The election ended the coalition the MDC and Zanu-PF had formed after disputed elections in 2008.

Bogus’
Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti, the MDC secretary-general, had been long-standing allies in their campaign to remove Mr Mugabe from power, but fell out after the elections held in July last year.

Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Biti and the other “rebels” had been recalled from parliament.

President Robert Mugabe, 90, has been in power since 1980

Tendai Biti (L) and Mr Tsvangirai (R) used to work together to oust him
“He [Mr Biti] deceived us all. The man doesn’t believe in anything, except his power,” Mr Tsvangirai said, in his first comments since his suspension was announced.

On Saturday, Mr Biti’s faction said the MDC’s national council had voted to suspend Mr Tsvangirai because the party had been “transformed into a fiefdom of the leader”.

Mr Tsvangirai dismissed the meeting as “illegal, unconstitutional, illegitimate and bogus”.

Many MDC supporters are worried that the split could strengthen Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF and are hoping that the two leaders can resolve their differences, reports the BBC’s Brian Hungwe from the capital, Harare.

Mr Mugabe, 90, has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

Second split
Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti played a key role in the launch of the MDC in 1999 to challenge Mr Mugabe’s grip on power.

The party’s formation led to a period of intense repression and violence against the MDC.

Mr Mugabe also ordered the seizure of white-owned farms, and the economy went into crisis.

The two parties formed a power-sharing government in 2009, following mediation efforts by regional leaders.

The unity government ended last year, with Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s victory in presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mr Mugabe obtained 61% of the presidential vote against 34% for Mr Tsvangirai.

This is the second split in the MDC. In 2005, Mr Biti’s predecessor as secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, broke away to launch his own MDC faction.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27212025

Zimbabwe – MDC-T rebels suspend Tsvangirai

The Zimbabwean

MDC rebels “suspend” Tsvangirai, top members

MDC pro-reform rebels met today and announced the “immediate suspension” of party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and several other senior party members.

by Tawanda Majoni
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Tendai Biti, the MDC Secretary General, attended the Harare meeting that was chaired by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo.

Elton Mangoma, whom the Tsvangirai faction recently fired for calling on Tsvangirai to step down, youth leader Solomon Madzore and provincials party representatives were also present

Jacob Mafume, the spokesperson of the rebels, told The Zimbabwean that Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, Abednico Bhebhe, Morgan Komichi (Deputy Chair), Douglas Mwonzora (Secretary for Information) and Nelson Chamisa (Organising Secretary) had been suspended by a “full quorum of the National Executive Council”.

“They were found guilty of political violence, undermining the values of the party and unconstitutional decisions,” said Mafume.

He said those that constituted the meeting voted by secret ballot, adding that all suspensions or expulsions of party members that had been made by the Tsvangirai group are null and void and must therefore be reversed.

The MDC leadership has been involved in intense turf battles from the beginning of the year.

The pro-change team that is apparently led by Biti wants Tsvangirai to go, accusing him of failing to steer the party to victory against Zanu (PF) in successive elections since 2000, in addition to undermining the MDC founding values of democracy, tolerance, peace and constitutionalism.

Recently, Tsvangirai claimed the internal differences had been resolved.

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http://www.thezimbabwean.co/news/zimbabwe/71394/mdc-rebels-suspend-tsvangirai-top.html

BBC
Zimbabwe: Opposition MDC suspends Morgan Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change says it is suspending its leader Morgan Tsvangirai for “deviating from democratic principles”.

The announcement, by MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti, follows a party meeting in the capital Harare.

From 2009-2013 Mr Tsvangirai served as prime minister in a fragile power-sharing government, with Robert Mugabe remaining Zimbabwe’s president.

That unity government ended with the elections in July 2013.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27173541

Zimbabwe MDC-T dissident refuses to recognize expulsion

South West Radio Africa

Posted by

mangoma

Elton Mangoma does not recognize his expulsion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The deputy The deputy treasurer-general of the MDC-T,Elton Mangoma , does not recognize his expulsion from the party for alleged gross indiscipline, his lawyer said on Friday.

Jacob Mafume told journalists in Harare that the expulsion of Mangoma is unconstitutional, as the clause cited by party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora in announcing his expulsion does not exist in the party constitution.

He also attacked party leader Morgan Tsvangirai for allegedly running the party as his own company, saying they will seek guidance from the party structures on the way forward.

When briefing journalists on the national council’s resolutions to expel Mangoma on Thursday, Mwonzora said the highest decision making body of the party had used clause 5.11 of the constitution to arrive at its decision.

He said Mangoma had been expelled not for challenging party leader Morgan Tsvangirai but for his continued transgressions of holding rallies and his relentless attacks on the party and its leaders.

Contacted for comment on Friday following Mafume’s statement that the clause does not exist in the constitution Mwonzora laughed and and challenged this writer to get a copy of their constitution.

‘You are a journalist why don’t you get a copy and read it yourself. Surely do you think more than 135 people can sit down and deliberate on a non-existent clause in our party constitution,’ added Mwonzora.

SW Radio Africa did check the MDC-T constitution and clause 5.11 reads: ‘A member may be expelled if: a) the national council (by a two thirds majority of all its members) is of the opinion that his or her continued membership would be seriously detrimental to the interests of the party.

The decision to expel Mangoma was unanimous after 131 members voted in favour to expel him while three abstained and one voted against. The voting exceeded the two thirds majority required.

Mafume is also expelled from the party along with youth assembly secretary-general Promise Mkwananzi and national executive member Last Maengahama.

Journalist and political commentator Itai Dzamara told us Mangoma’s expulsion puts to rest the renewal team’s push to oust Tsvangirai. ‘His (Mangoma) expulsion and that of the three others effectively puts this whole saga to an end. There will be no split from this…at least it gives them a chance to form their own party if they wish,’ Dzamara said.

We want to hear your thoughts and opinions, so leave us your comments on news@swradioafrica.com or Facebook. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting us using #Zim2013 .

Limited options for future of Zimbabwe politics

Mail and Guardian

Zim runs out of options

 

Bitter reality defies all talk of a new leader or movement to break the political stalemate in Zimbabwe.

Simba Makoni went up against Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai and only got 8% of the vote. He describes the real majority as those who don't go to the polls. (Desmond Kwande)                    
Simba Makoni went up against Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai and only got 8% of the vote. He describes the real majority as those who don’t go to the polls. (Desmond Kwande)

                                   

After he was pushed out into the cold by Zanu-PF in 2005, a disillusioned Jonathan Moyo declared that Zimbabwe needed a “third way”.

Both Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had failed, Moyo wrote then, and “patriots” needed to forge a new “political and economic synthesis – where Zanu-PF is the failed thesis and the MDC the unsuccessful antithesis”.

Now, with Zanu-PF drifting along with no real solution to a deepening economic crisis and the MDC breaking itself apart, talk is again about the possibility of a “third way”.

But it is unlikely that disillusionment with the two main parties has grown sufficiently to make a third party viable. Zimbabwe remains polarised, with little space in the middle ground.

It is telling that, not long after Moyo bandied about the possibility of his “synthesis”, he himself was back in the Zanu-PF fold, saying “it’s cold out there”.

Many have tried to pull themselves away from Zanu-PF and the MDC, hoping to sell a brand of clean politics to counter the violence and patronage that have become hallmarks of Zanu-PF and the MDC.  But their careers now serve only as fodder in the hands of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe, who use their example to ward off internal criticism – go against me and you are out on your own.

‘It doesn’t work here’ Last year, Welshman Ncube ran on a platform of clean politics and decentralisation. He got only 2.6% of the presidential vote. In 2008, Simba Makoni broke from Zanu-PF, promising to forge an alliance with “progressive forces”. He got only 8%.

In a birthday interview last month, Mugabe offered a brutal assessment of that kind of politics: “It doesn’t work here.”

In recent meetings with his senior officials, Tsvangirai has also used the fate of his former allies as a whip. His public invitations to Ncube and others who have left the MDC were meant more as reminders to internal party rebels who may be thinking of branching out on their own.

Inside the MDC, even senior officials opposed to Tsvangirai admit that leaving the party is a major gamble. They insist the party will have to reform or watch its support fall further. The party’s campaign messages are tired and worn, secretary general Tendai Biti said last week.

“We were selling hopes and dreams when Zanu-PF was selling practical realities,” Biti said, in remarks that drew the fury of Tsvangirai’s backers.

But many within the party agree with him. “It is time the MDC quickly embarked on a steadfast process of evolution if it is to remain relevant to the emerging political dispensation,” Promise Mkwananzi, the MDC youth chairperson, said.

MDC will survive Other observers say that Tsvangirai will survive the current internal battles but the violence and intolerance will make it difficult to win over outsiders to the MDC.

“The MDC may well survive this, and Morgan may well remain its leader, enjoying the support of some of us, but the reality is that what is happening severely damages him and the party he leads,” McDonald Lewanika, a political activist, said.

Western nations are softening their position on Mugabe’s government but are actively encouraging the emergence of a new alliance of reformists from both sides. They are looking past Tsvangirai and, for the first time, openly criticising him.

But it is hard to see a new party, or a new opposition leader, emerging who has as much influence as Tsvangirai.

“His leadership of the MDC touched the collective consciousness of many in his country and it will be hard for any individual to recreate the impact he had,” a scholar, Simukai Tinhu, said.

‘No chance’ of a new party A senior Zanu-PF politburo member this week also dismissed the possibility of a new party emerging.

“If any new party is to have an impact, it would mean senior, well-known people leaving both the party [Zanu-PF] and the MDC to form some kind of alliance. There is no chance of that,” the official said.

In an interview last year, Makoni said the majority were, in fact, those who were not voting.

“People have been forced to believe they can only pick from three choices: Zanu-PF, the MDC or no party at all,” he lamented. “This is wrong.” M&G

Zimbabwe – Mugabe slams West and praises political rivals

New Zimbabwe
VETERAN leader Robert Mugabe was on Thursday sworn-in as president for the next five years in a ceremony attended by a handful of African leaders but boycotted by his erstwhile colleagues from the outgoing unity government.

The ceremony was held at the giant National Sports Stadium before a crowded gallery, which greeted the veteran leader with wild cheers when he entered the giant sports facility accompanied by his wife, Grace.

Mugabe was taken through his swearing-in rituals – his seventh such experience since becoming Zimbabwe’s founding leader in 1980 – by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku in a ceremony that was broadcast live on national television.

In his inaugural speech that lasted more than an hour, Mugabe lashed out at Western governments that have refused to accept the outcome of the July 31st poll, which saw him garner 61 percent of the presidential vote.

“SADC, Comesa, the African Union, the ACP, the United Nations as well as many nations of good will have praised the elections here,” Mugabe said.

“We welcome this positive spirit, this encouragement which should see us do even better, move forward faster as a nation. But like in all elections, there will always be bad losers, real spoilers, it is a price we pay for electoral democracy, isn’t it?

“Indeed an inevitable phase in our growth as a people where the democratic practice, where such a grousing stance remains non antagonistic, where it expresses itself within the four corners of the law. It must be tolerated as part of the Democratic tussles, part of electoral adjustments.

“For those old western countries who happen to hold a different negative view of our electoral process and outcome, well there is not much we can do about them. We dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mould.

“They are entitled to their views for as long as they recognise that the majority of our people endorsed the electoral outcome. Indeed for as long as they recognise that no Zimbabwean law was offended against and for us that is all that matters.

“After all Zimbabwean elections are meant for Zimbabwean voting citizens; after all Zimbabwean democracy is meant for the people of Zimbabwe who must within certain periods go to the polls to choose and install a government of their choice.
“It is their sole prerogative and no outsiders however superior or powerful they may imagine themselves to be, can override that right, let alone take it from them. It is our inherent right, we fought for it when it was lost we won it through our own blood, we keep it for us and posterity, we reserve it forever as an expression of our sovereignty as a free people.

“Today we tell those dissenting nations that the days of colonialism and neo-colonialism have gone and gone forever. Today it is Britain and her dominions of Australia and Canada who dare tell us that our elections were not fair and credible.

“Today it is America and her illegal elections with all that past of enslaving us, it is America that dares raise a censorious voice over our affairs and says our elections were not fair, were not credible, yes today it is these Anglo-Saxon who dare contradict Africa’s verdict over elections in Zimbabwe, an African country. But who are they we ask? Whoever gave them the gift of seeing better than all of us?”

The US has ruled out lifting its sanctions while the UK said it wanted an independent audit to investigate “allegations of election irregularities”. The EU also “serious concerns” about the conduct of the elections and said it would take this into consideration when reviewing its sanctions against the country.

But Mugabe insisted that said the flawless conduct of the July 31 elections left countries hostile to his government with no excuse for maintaining the sanctions which he blames for the country’s economic problems.

“Yesterday the pretext for imposing those sanctions was to do with a deficit of democracy here. Today we ask those culprit nations what their excuse is. What is it now? Whose interests are those sanctions meant to serve?”

The veteran leader extended an olive branch to his former partners in the inclusive government.

“I owe nothing but praise and respect to my GPA era partners who are also my fellow countrymen. I am referring to former Prime Minister Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and much later Professor Welshman Ncube,” Mugabe said, adding that their collaboration as an inclusive government helped produce the country’s first ever post-independence constitution.

“We have worked together initially compelled by GPA protocol, we found each other and proceeded to produce the current constitution but it was the constitution to help us mould the way of life we have chosen for ourselves on this our land, our country together and for as long as our nation subsists, so will elections and the opportunities they offer also subsist.

“Our own destiny bids us to work together never at cross purposes, we will be having competitions, having winners and losers but we are not competing, we shall never be competing to be Zimbabweans. No, that was a fight we fought and that was the gift that our country gave us, that we shall all we the citizens of this country be Zimbabweans.”

African leaders present were President Joseph Kabila of DRC, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, and Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini.

Zambian leader Michael Sata was represented by his deputy Guy Scott while former South African leader and now Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe stood in for President Jacob Zuma.

Former Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa both from Tanzania, Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa , Sam Nujoma (Namibia), Sir Quett Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae both from Botswana also attended the inauguration.

But, and as expected, the two MDC formations boycotted the ceremony, which was however attended by Mutambara.

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said Thursday he would now turn his attention to addressing the country economic problems and delivering on his election promises following his inauguration before a capacity 60,000 crowd at the national sports stadium in Harare.

Festooned in a sash, garland and medals, the 89-year-old was sworn in for his seventh term as leader of the country by chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku during a ceremony also attended by several current and former regional leaders.

“I stand before you as now a sworn President of Zimbabwe,” he told he told cheering crowd.
“My mandate comes from the just-ended election in which I should say through my party, Zanu PF, you gave me and my party that mandate as the party won the elections resoundingly.”

Unlike previous low-key investitures, Thursday’s event – replete with banners, flags and chants – carried strong echoes of Mugabe’s inauguration as prime minister of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980.

Hints by the West that debilitating sanctions would likely be kept in place and a no-show by leaders from neighbouring countries – including President Jacob Zuma of regional power-broker South Africa – did little to dampen enthusiasm.

Neither did a boycott by opposition leader and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who insists the 31 July vote was stolen.

Mugabe was greeted in the stadium by thunderous cheers and whistling. On board a military truck he inspected assembled military personnel.

His address however, showed an awareness of the enormity of the task he faces following his landslide victory in the elections which also ended his coalition arrangement with Tsvangirai.

“There are key truths that come with that victory, which come with that honour,” he said.
“The peasant who cast his vote on July 31 created my victory and that made a portion of my presidency. I am at his service. I am his emissary and servant. He or she did not cast that precious vote in vain.

“The business person, he or she too voted for me, contributing to my presidency. He or she too has definite expectations founded on his or her role in society as a creator of work. So, all these and others who contributed to our victory have also expectations.

“What shall we do now to contribute towards their own lives? The farmer – small, medium, big – voted for my party, thereby assisting in my presidency. His vote was his input.

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“I am the instrument of his dream, the self-employed man and woman all struggling on the margin of the former economy, in the SMEs, he or she has greater expectations. Great expectations from all of them. They have lives to build; they have children to look after, generations to take care of.

“The new cabinet is expected to move very swift in mobilising adequate resources for farmers and electricity to make a return of food sufficiency. (We must) think about all those demands on us. Let us therefore think of our obligations and ways and means to fulfil those expectations, to satisfy them.

“In Bulawayo, water must be re-supplied. We cannot have erratic water supplies in cities. Hospitals and clinics must have adequate drugs and equipment. Road maintenance equipment for the rural development agencies must be improved.

“The mining sector will be the centrepiece of our economic recovery and growth. It should generate growth spurts across sector; reignite that economic miracle which must now happen.”

He added: “I promise you better conditions (but also) call upon you all to summon your goodwill to live the skills you now have; (and we created a lot of skills amongst us) those skills must now be put to use.”

The veteran leader rejected western criticism of his re-election but conceded that sanctions which had been eased to encourage the country to hold free and fair elections would now likely remain in place.

“We dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mourn,” he said venting against Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.

“Most likely we shall remain under these sanctions for much longer (but) we continue to look East.”
Gates to the Chinese-built stadium opened shortly after dawn. The day had been declared a public holiday, helping boost attendance.

Banners around the oval stadium carried messages praising African leaders and denouncing Western governments accused of meddling in Zimbabwe’s political affairs.

“Which African ever observed elections in Europe, America?” read one banner. “Africa has spoken, respect it’s voice,” said another.

The inauguration had been delayed after Tsvangirai challenged the poll results – which he denounced as “massive fraud” – in a petition to the Constitutional Court that was later withdrawn.

The Constitutional Court confirmed Mugabe as president and declared the elections “free, fair and credible”, saying the results “reflected the free will of the people of Zimbabwe”.

Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist from the University of Zimbabwe, said the event was at once Mugabe’s victory lap and his “last supper”.

“This inauguration is being projected as the crowning of a victory of a struggle for the past 13 years against big Western powers,” he said.

There is however also an “unintended meaning”, he said. “It can be read as a farewell event for Mugabe. It reminds one of Jesus’s Last Supper.”

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-12141-I+promise+you+better+conditions+Mugabe/news.aspx

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